Blastocystis hominis infection in irritable bowel syndrome patients

Southeast Asian J Trop Med Public Health. 2004 Sep;35(3):705-10.


Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a functional bowel disorder in which abdominal pain is associated with a defect or a change in bowel habits. Subtle inflammation, especially after infectious enteritis, has been sometimes suspected as one mechanism of pathogenesis. This research was performed (1) to evaluate the prevalence of parasitic infections and (2) the possible association of IBS and parasitic infections. Fifty-nine IBS patients were recruited using symptom-based criteria (Rome Criteria II) with an absence of intestinal parasitic infection by direct smear method. Stool samples of individual patients were examined using 7 methods, ie examination for stool occult blood, simple saline smear method, formalin-ether technique, culture for Blastocystis hominis, modified trichrome stain, modified Ziehl-Neelsen method, and trichrome stain for parasitic and bacterial infections. Of the 59 patients, stool samples of 13 patients (22.1%) were positive for parasites. These were B. hominis (13.6%), Strongyloides stercoralis larvae (1.7%), Giardia lamblia cysts (1.7%), and non-pathogenic protozoa, ie Endolimax nana cysts (5.1%). The prevalence rate of parasitic infections in the control group (20%) was not statistically different from the patients. There was no statistical difference between B. hominis infection in IBS patients and control was found in this study (p = 0.87). In the IBS group, B. hominis infection predominated (13.6%), while other parasitic infections were found in 8.5%. The culture method for B. hominis is more sensitive than the direct (simple) stool smear method, which is the routine diagnostic method in most laboratories. These results were also found in control group.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blastocystis Infections / diagnosis*
  • Blastocystis Infections / epidemiology
  • Blastocystis hominis / isolation & purification*
  • Blastocystis hominis / parasitology
  • Blastocystis hominis / pathogenicity
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Endolimax / isolation & purification
  • Feces / parasitology*
  • Female
  • Giardia lamblia / isolation & purification
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Diseases, Parasitic / epidemiology
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome / epidemiology
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome / parasitology*
  • Male
  • Prevalence
  • Strongyloides stercoralis / isolation & purification
  • Thailand / epidemiology